East Meets West: The Jesus Sutras In China and...
The Jesus Sutras : Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity
by Martin Palmer
Publisher: Wellspring/Ballantine; 1st edition (August 14, 2001)
History + Full English translations: Recommended by Jessika
If you are a historian you will appreciate this work over the one below.
From the Inside Flap
In 1907, explorers discovered a vast treasure trove of ancient scrolls, silk paintings, and artifacts dating from the 5th to 11th centuries A.D. in a long-sealed cave in a remote region of China. Among them, written in Chinese, were scrolls that recounted a history of Jesus' life and teachings in beautiful Taoist concepts and imagery that were unknown in the West. These writings told a story of Christianity that was by turns unique and disturbing, hopeful and uplifting. The best way to describe them is collectively, with a term they themselves use: The Jesus Sutras.
The origins of Christianity seem rooted in Western civilization, but amazingly, an ancient, largely unknown branch of Christian belief evolved in the East. Eminent theologian and Chinese scholar Martin Palmer provides the first popular history and translation of the sect's long-lost scriptures--all of them more than a thousand years old and comparable in significance to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Gathered, deciphered, and interpreted by a team of expert linguists and scholars, these sacred texts present an inspiring use of Jesus' teachings and life within Eastern practices and meditations--and provide an extraordinary window into an intriguing, profoundly gentler, more spiritual Christianity than existed in Europe or Asia at the time, or, indeed, even today.
Palmer has devoted more than a decade to seeking the extant writings and other evidence of this lost religion. His search was triggered by an encounter with an immense, mysterious carved (stele) stone from the 8th century that resides in a Chinese museum collection called the Forest of Stones. The Chinese text on this stone commemorates the founding of a "religion of light" in China by a great Western teacher and features a unique cross that merges Taoist symbolism with the Christian cross.
The scrolls, the stone, and a strange map of the area around a hallowed temple (where Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching before disappearing forever) gave Palmer enough information to rediscover one of the earliest Christian monasteries. At the site was an 8th century pagoda still intact, and within it, in 1998, Palmer and his team found more evidence, including statues, underground passageways, and artifacts, that helped them uncover and recreate the era and rituals of the Taoist Christians.
The Taoist Christians, who wrote the Jesus Sutras recognized equality of the sexes, preached against slavery, and practiced nonviolence toward all forms of life. In particular, this tradition offered its followers a more hopeful vision of life on earth and after death than the dominant Eastern religions, teaching that Jesus had broken the wheel of karma and its consequent punishing, endless reincarnations.
Vividly re-creating the turbulence of a distant age that is remarkably evocative of our own times, Palmer reveals an extraordinary evolution of spiritual thought that spans centuries. A thrilling modern quest that is also an ancient religious odyssey, The Jesus Sutras shares a revolutionary discovery with profound historical implications--imparting timeless messages and lessons for men and women of all backgrounds and faiths.
From the Back Cover
"The Jesus Sutras tells a valuable history of the beautiful teachings of a faith built on living practices of brotherhood and peace. The Sutras show us the interbeing nature of Jesus, Buddha, Tao, peoples, cultures, transformation, salvation and unity through deep and mindful living."
--THICH NHAT HANH
Author of Living Buddha, Living Christ
The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks by Ray Riegert, Thomas Moore
Publisher: Seastone (April, 2003)
Nicely presented coffee table or inspirational read: based on Martin Palmers work above. No citations however. Frustrating of you have read the one above. I recommend you buy both. Jessika
In 635 C.E. a small band of Christian monks traveled along the Silk Road from Persia to the imperial capital of China. Welcomed by the Tang Dynasty emperor, the missionaries set about translating into Chinese the sacred texts they had carried for 3000 miles across the deserts and mountains of Asia.
Influenced by Buddhists and Taoists they encountered along the way, the Persians translated their manuscripts into a collection of unique teachings, part Christianity and part Eastern wisdom, that combined the teachings of Jesus with the principles of Eastern thought. Recorded on a set of delicate scrolls, these new scriptures became known as the Jesus Sutras.
During the next few centuries, the political climate in China turned menacing towards Christians and Buddhists alike and sometime around 1000 C.E., the Jesus Sutras, together with thousands of Buddhist manuscripts, were hidden in a desert cave.
They were not seen again until 1900, when a Taoist monk restoring cave paintings in western China accidentally discovered the sealed cavern housing these priceless religious documents. Within a few years, European archaeologists and private collectors had removed the sacred texts from China, relegating them to academic obscurity for the next hundred years. Now, the new translation presented in this book offers a unique opportunity to delve into their unparalleled wisdom and tells the story of the discovery in 1998 of one of the monk's original monasteries.
About the Author
Ray Riegert is the co-author of "The Lost Gospel Q" and "The Gospel of Thomas" and co-editor of "Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings." He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion.
Thomas Moore is the author of several bestselling books, including "Care of the Soul" and "The Soul's Religion." Also a psychotherapist and lecturer, he lived as a monk in a catholic religious order for twelve years and has a Ph.D. in religious study.
"The Lost Sutras of Jesus" conveys the history, message and meaning of a set of 1300-year-old scrolls which were lost in China for nine centuries. Written by Christian monks living in China, the sutras elegantly weave Eastern wisdom with Christian parables. "The Lost Sutras of Jesus" combines a new translation of selected Sutras with insight and commentary from editors Ray Riegert and Thomas Moore. This book is both an intriguing tale of discovery and a spiritual guide for how we can live in today's tumultuous world.
Jesus and Buddha:The Parallel Sayings by Marcus Borg (Editor), Jack Kornfield (Introduction), Ray Riegert (Editor)
Jesus and Buddha were separated by five hundred years, three thousand miles, and two drastically different cultures. Yet this TP edition of the highly acclaimed hardback juxtaposes passages from the New Testament and ancient Buddhist scriptures to illuminate the striking similarity between their lives, deeds, and teachings.
Jesus and Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings
by Martin Aronson, David Steindl-Rast
Comparing the New Testament with the Tao Te Ching, Taoisms most sacred book, Jesus and Lao Tzu reveals a surprising set of examples in which these two spiritual masters point their followers in the same direction. With over 90 parallel sayings, readers find fresh understanding and new perspectives here, since the time-honored teachings are presented side by side. The book also shows how these shared truths transcend traditional religious boundaries.
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